WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the third episode of Pennyworth, "Martha Kane," which aired Sunday on Epix.
Only three episodes in, and it's already clear that Epix's Pennyworth is telling its own version of the early days of Batman's future butler. While the series is taking certain cues from the comic books when it comes to Alfred's past in the military, it's also introducing new ideas to the mythos. For example, Alfred and Thomas Wayne's initial meeting on the television series is different than the comics. Similarly, the series' villains, the Raven Society, are meant to be a twist on the Court of Owls.
Now, in the aptly titled third episode, "Martha Kane," viewers are introduced to Martha Kane, future wife of Thomas and mother of Bruce Wayne. But Pennyworth's take on Martha is much different than in the source material. In fact, the Epix series' Martha is an American spy.
In the comics, as well as other live-action adaptations, Martha Wayne is often portrayed as a rich socialite and humanitarian. She lives a life of leisure, but she also aims to give back and help the people of Gotham. However, that is not even remotely close to the Martha Wayne, née Kane, we are introduced to on Pennyworth.
Martha first arrives on the series as Alfred Pennyworth's latest client. She meets him in a pub, and hires him as a driver and possible bodyguard. She introduces herself as a photo journalist, who was sent by the powerful friends of an American citizen currently incarcerated by the British government. She wishes to bring him home, safely. But the more we see of Martha, the more it appears that there is more to her than what she lets on: she is skilled at going undercover, she's got a lot of money at her disposal and she seems to have powerful connections.
However, when the Raven Society comes for this American citizen and Alfred's job gets a whole lot more complicated, he confronts Martha and asks her to be straight with him. That is when she reveals that the is a spy working for a secret organization known as the No Name League.
Now, there is no such league in the DC Universe, which makes her affiliations mysterious, for the time being. While it might be entirely new for the show, could the No Name League actually be an extension of the League of Shadows/the League of Assassins? With such a name, it's certainly possible and, better yet, it would make for an interesting twist, considering Bruce Wayne's future history with the League.
But that remains just a theory for now.
However, what we do know is that Martha is not only highly skilled and capable, she is a good person. As the episode comes to a close, Martha and Alfred develop a mutual respect, the start of a friendship that promises to strengthen as the two keep working together. It's an interesting take on the characters, mainly because we are more used to Alfred and Thomas as the ones being close friends.
With Thomas Wayne still a bit of a mystery on the show, Martha's relationship with Alfred has just taken the lead as the one that will cement into a trusting familial bond that will end up, as we know, with Alfred moving to America to live with the Waynes.
Starring Jack Bannon, Ben Aldridge, Ryan Fletcher, Hainsley Lloyd Bennett, Paloma Faith, Emma Paetz, Polly Walker and Jason Flemyng, Pennyworth airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Epix.